Naviband / NAVI

Published: March 18, 2017

Naviband or NAVI (the group alternates between the two names, both written in the Latin alphabet) is a contemporary Belarusian folk/alternative rock band. They sing in both Belarusian and Russian. The group’s leaders have said that they don’t plan in advance whether a song will be in Belarusian or Russian; they just go with what seems right.

The group was founded in 2013 by Kseniya Zhuk (Ксенія Жук) and Artyom Lukyanenka (Арцём Лук’яненка), who had both been in other bands previously but happened to meet right when they were looking to start new projects. Choosing to form a duet together, they both radically changed their musical styles.

The band’s full membership (all of them have been with the band since the beginning) are Zhuk (vocals, keyboards), Lukyanenka (vocals, guitar), Vladislav Chashchavik (Уладзіслаў Чашчавік, bass), Aleksandr Tabolski (Аляксандр Табольскі, electric guitar), and Vladimir Beger (Уладзімір Бегер, percussion). They’ve already released three studio albums—two in 2014 and one, Illumination (Иллюминация), in 2017. One of these, the December 2014 Warmed by the Sun (Сонцам сагрэтыя), was entirely acoustic. The group also has two live albums.

Though the band is young, they’ve already achieved certain impressive successes. In 2013 they performed with popular Russian folk/rock group Night Snipers, with Diana Arbenina, and soon after began racking up prizes, including a 2015 “Best song in the native language” (Лепшую песню на роднай мове) from the National Music Prize–Lira (Нацыянальнай музычнай прэміі Ліра). They were also nominated for the 2015 Heroes of the Year award from the Belarusian Music Awards.

The group’s most recent claim to fame is that they will perform in Eurovision 2017, with their single “Story of My Life” (“Гісторыя майго жыцця”). (They also tried out for Eurovision 2016, but came in fourth among Belarusian bands.) Notably, they will be the first Belarusian group ever to actually sing in Belarusian at Eurovision; every other group has performed in English.

Find Naviband on Amazon


2013’s “Абдымi мяне”:


Lyrics for “Абдымi мяне”:

Ты чуеш, змаўкаюць усе сады, i зоркi цiха назiраюць
Глядзiш мне , i подых цяплынi, вабiць нас i мы ў адчаi
Ты бачышь, у свеце толькi мы, i нас адных няма на свеце
Адчуеш, у гэтай вышынi як нас с табой акутаў вецер

Абдымi мяне, крышку памаўчы, дай паслухаць тваё сэрца
Не перашкаджай, шчыра адчуваць, як яно iмклiва б’ецца

Ты помнiш, у абдымках цiшынi, мяне ў космас прытуляла
Спытаешь, цi гэта назаўжды, адказ мы позiркам спадкала

Абдымi мяне, крышку памаўчы, дай паслухаць тваё сэрца
Не перашкаджай, шчыра адчуваць, як яно iмклiва б’ецца

Абдымi мяне, крышку памаўчы, дай паслухаць тваё сэрца
Не перашкаджай, шчыра адчуваць, як яно iмклiва б’ецца

Абдымi мяне, абдымi мяне, абдымi мяне, абдымi мяне
абдымi мяне, абдымi мяне, абдымi мяне, абдымi…


The addictively happy “Story of My Life” (“Гісторыя майго жыцця”), 2017:


Lyrics for “Гісторыя майго жыцця”:

Колькі дзён, колькі спатканняў
Новыя вобразы і гарады
Шэраг падзей, нас пакідае
У сэрцы трымаем
Ідзем далей

Гісторыя майго жыцця
Будзе свяціць яшчэ ярчэй
У нашай крыві сонца зайграе
Уся прыгажосць тваіх вачэй

Дзе будзеш ты – я адшукаю
Яркія моманты знойдзем хутчэй
Сенняшні дзень, стане пачаткам
Новых жаданняў, лепшых ідэй


And just for fun, Navi’s cover of the Imagine Dragons song “Radioactive”:


Find Naviband on Amazon

About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and before that, Bishkek, with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

View all posts by: Julie Hersh